Thursday, February 10, 2011

food challenge

a friend (well, a lot of friends actually) recommended the book "skinny b!tch" (from now on, i'll refer to it as "SB") after my shock when i saw the oprah episode about her staff going vegan for a week... and since i was going on vacation and looking to make a change as soon as i got back... i thought i might actually have a chance to read a book... and really let it digest, if you will.

well, after reading it--i'd be remiss if i didn't recommend it to you, too!! wow. i won't ever think about eating the same way again. two smart & sassy ladies write a book that's pretty funny to read (and a touch sarcastic)... with LOADS of reliable sources and somehow manage to create a really good argument on the vegan lifestyle.

now, i know i'm back-tracking a bit, but there's been something stirring in the "food waters" here for a while... i've really had some convicitions about changing my eating habits in an effort to help eden develop good eating habits and have good examples to follow. and i really DO enjoy cooking... but sometimes mostly lack the planning to follow through the entire week. i often think about 2pm "oh man, i could've made whateveritwasicould'vemade in the crock pot, but its too late to do it now for tonite's dinner... maybe we'll pick up subway." <--and i really hate that. because i end up wasting groceries... oh, and my money. wasting money by throwing away groceries and buying "dinner to go" when i have food already at the house. uuuugh.

i'd also like to remind you that lee and i have never been people for titles. "we're vegan" or "we're vegetarian"...nah. because there are exceptions to every rule. ideally, we're re-evaluating what we eat and helping eden to make good decisions, too. will we never ever go to another cook out and eat another hot dog? no. but can i make a small impact and make a more conscious effort to cook more veggies and eat more fruits (no, i don't currently cook fruits.)... i'm getting off topic... lemme reel 'er back in.

SB goes into a lot of detail of the biological reasons the processed foods we eat are really doing more harm to our body than good... inhibiting our body's natural "memos", if you will to say "hey, i'm full, stop eating" and how the different arms of the food industry seem to have the FDA in their back pocket... giving most american's (myself included) a false sense of security in our government and the restrictions (or lack thereof) on our food. they even go into elaborate detail about how the food industry has picked up on the chemicals/additives that we (humans) find addicting... so, they're adding things to our food and adding chemicals/drugs to our animal sources of food to make them produce more... more product, more money, right?! and perhaps i was most repulsed by many of the "studies" that are produced showing the benefits of doing or eating whatever is the hot topic of the moment (pork, milk, no carbs--more meat, etc.) were performed in malnourished countries... well of course adding ANYTHING to their diet would be beneficial! agh, they're either doing that or manipulating the results to show what they wanna show... or ignoring studies that show certain chemicals to be dangerous (traces of arsenic, etc)...especially the artificial sweeteners... blah blah blah... DON'T TRUST THE GOVERNMENT TO YOUR DIET.

...ok, i'm not going into any more detail about the book... because i won't do it justice... and i think you should read it for yourself.

after a long talk with lee (who's doing this thing with me!) and talking about what michael pollan said (i tried to read his book "the omnivore's dilemma" on our trip--but its very "textbooky") on oprah... i keep coming back to this one sentence:

its not about being vegetarian or vegan, its about understanding where your food comes from and realizing that you can have a healthy, satisfying meal without meat.

since reading the book (hoping to read more in the NEAR future), talking with lee, writing out some of my concerns/goals/short term goals/long term goals... here's the deal:

:::only drinking water. (unless it's pure juice--not from concentrate or milk--of some variety)
:::putting an emphasis on eating at home (we do this from time to time anyway)--we'll be trying new things* and avoiding meat.

*what type of new things? new types of veggies that i normally walk right by in the grocery store. soy/almond milk & yogurt. quinoa & some of those other grains. exploring natural sweeteners (honey, agave nectar, etc.)

:::eliminating refined carbs... no more white bread, white pastas, etc... aiming for whole grains.
:::more meal prep... planning breakfast, lunch & dinner. lee's even looking forward to grocery shopping with me!
:::incorporating more fruit. SB explains in great detail the endless benefits from FRUIT! we love fruit anyway--i just don't buy a whole lot of it, because sometimes i feel like its going to waste. so, here's to exploring more of a great thing that we already love!
that's about it for, we're not doing any crash dieting--its well thought out and intentional... and its evolving as we delve into it more, and i've gotta be honest... i went ahead and made a few of these changes while we were on vacay--then i "indulged" one night near the end... and really felt gross... and sick... perhaps this was the boost i needed to stick to it!

and let me re-iterate... we may use veganism or vegetarianism to lend some guidelines every now and then...but we're not going to be vegetarians or vegans. nope. its not the point. i'm planning to enjoy going to a cookout with hotdogs & hamburgers or a piece of grilled chicken in the same way a reasonable person could enjoy a glass of wine on occasion and not get "out of hand"... its really all about boundaries and setting goals for us (and our family.)

...and hey, i've already been encouraged by trying new things on the cruise ship... different kinds of fish... and so far, i've not met a fish i didn't like--obviously, i'm a big sushi fan but i'm talking about venturing out of the salmon/tuna waters... more along the line of the vast variety of whitefish... and the various ways it was prepared.

oh, alright alright... this got a bit more wordy than i'd originally anticipated... i'm looking forward to keeping y'all updated on the new things we're trying. and maybe as we begin to see the benefits from the small changes we're making, we'll give up eggs, dairy, cheese, or other animal based products... stay tuned.


Courtney said...

Obviously I have way too much to say in a comment, because I'm all spilling over with fruity and veggie happiness right now, but I'll say these two things - agave nectar is beyond awesome and after you cut out the refined sugar, you're going to be so freaked out by the way processed things taste. After I had been a hardcore label-y vegan for two weeks, I had a little ketchup and it tasted like sugar! Same thing with pizza sauce! It will blow your mind.

ashley said...

I watched that Oprah too and it did make me think a lot as well! Have you seen Food, Inc? We watched it last week and it made me really think about food 100 times more than the Oprah episode! If you haven't seen it yet, you should!